Supermarket chain Aldi has become the latest grocer to trial soft plastic collection facilities in its stores.
A total of 20 shops in the north of England and east midlands region have installed plastic collection bins, with a view to helping customers recycle problem and difficult-to-recycle materials.
Aldi’s Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester stores will take collection of items such as crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags – regardless of where the items were purchased – and then work with its recycling partner to establish the best routes for the plastics to be processed.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op are already trialling similar services in some of their stores across the UK, with consumer awareness heightening about the impact plastic waste has on the environment.
Waste reduction charity Wrap said last week that, by the end of 2021, it expects all supermarkets in the UK, which have signed the UK Plastics Pact, to provide customers with an opportunity to use plastic collection facilities in their stores.
It is necessary because the vast majority of UK local authorities do not currently collect soft plastics, which means the packaging simply enters landfill or is incinerated.
Aldi said if the trial is successful, the collection bins will be rolled out across all of its 900-plus UK stores.
Aldi noted that it is already working towards ensuring all of its own-label packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.
Richard Gorman, plastics & packaging director at Aldi UK, commented: “We know our customers are environmentally-conscious, and as a responsible retailer, we are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible.
“Our latest trial is another step in the right direction, as we work towards being able to offer shoppers an option to bring back to our stores problem plastic that might not be recycled by their local councils.”
Helen Bird, strategic engagement manager at Wrap, added: “While plastic bags and wrapping makes up around a fifth of consumer plastic packaging, only 6% of it is recycled.
“UK Plastics Pact members, representing the vast majority of plastic packaging sold by supermarkets, have committed for all of it to be recyclable by 2025.”
She added: “In future years local authorities will collect this material for recycling, but in the meantime, supermarkets are able to provide recycling points for plastic bags and wrapping to the many citizens who want to recycle all that they can.”
[Image credit: Aldi]